L.A. Area Chamber

    TUESDAY | March 31, 2009




Coming up
at the Chamber

View all upcoming events on our Web calendar.

THU | April 2
Transportation & Goods Movement Committee Meeting
more info

TUE | April 7
L.A. Export Series: Session 7
Freight & Logistics
more info

TUE | April 7
Outlasting the Recession: Recovery Through Innovation
more info

WED | April 8
Aviation Committee Meeting
more info

FRI | April 10
Health Care Committee Meeting
more info

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

350 S. Bixel St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 tel
213.580.7511 fax



On March 3, voters in Los Angeles sent a clear message to L.A. City Hall that process and substance matter when it comes to developing the nation’s largest municipal solar power program. The defeat of Measure B was a victory for grassroots and good government advocates. Now the real test is for supporters and opponents of Measure B to collaborate on a solar plan that works for the entire city.

Rarely does the sun shine on backroom political deals. The mega-wattage of neighborhood groups, labor, the media and business opposition to Measure B led to a narrow defeat of what was initially thought to be an electoral slam dunk. How could the eco-conscious voters of Los Angeles reject something titled the "Green Energy & Goods Jobs initiative"?

The voters responded negatively once it became apparent that Measure B had little public input, no review by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) Commission and limited cost estimates before the measure was placed on the ballot by the L.A. City Council. The only certainty was that it would raise electricity rates (though no one could say by how much) and it would corner the market for the department’s labor force at the expense of the private sector and fellow labor unions.

Even though voters defeated Measure B Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s solar plan for Los Angeles is very much alive and it should be. As the L.A. Area Chamber noted in a letter to the mayor and the city council on March 10, co-signed by No on Measure B and the Carpenters Union, "the opposition to Measure B was not about whether to embrace the use of solar energy; it was about crafting and implementing a plan that works for everyone. We stand ready to begin working with you immediately. The use of solar energy is an important opportunity for our community and with all of us working together; we can lay a foundation that is beneficial for everyone."

The Chamber strongly supports the goals of a comprehensive solar
program – expanding the city’s use of clean renewable energy, building a vibrant solar industry that creates good-paying jobs in the region and minimizing the overall cost increases for city ratepayers. For several months we have been working closely with LADWP representatives on developing a private sector companion program for ratepayers that incentivizes solar installation and then allows owners to sell power back to the utility via a feed-in tariff program.

We thank City Council President Eric Garcetti and Council Members Jan Perry and Wendy Greuel for quickly shifting gears last week and introducing a council resolution to begin a new collaborative effort on the use of solar in Los Angeles. Together, we can make Los Angeles a global leader in solar power.

And that's The Business Perspective.

Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Samuel Garrison, Vice President of Public Policy.
by Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce


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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 | fax: 213.580.7511 | info@lachamber.com | www.lachamber.com

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